Yu-Han Chao

Yu-Han ChaoYu-Han (Eugenia) Chao was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. She received her B.A. from National Taiwan University and M.F.A. from Penn State University. Her writing has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Zyzzyva and other journals. To see more of her writing and artwork, please visit http://www.yuhanchao.com.

Yu-Han Chao Books at the Backwaters Press

We Grow Old

Format: Paperback, 63 pages
ISBN: 9780981693675
Published: September 2008

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Critical response to We Grow Old

These fine poems theorize love and they bathe in it too. In this book skin itself casts some long shadows and the shadows fall across and gather a wide and surprising range of lovers’ concerns-cat toys, e.g., or the footless nature of ghosts, and that “teeth come and go.” And the poem (for this is really one poem in its fifty-three parts, one long song) rises from its pages, from its particulars, and dazzlingly circles the globe.
• C. S. Giscombe
Author of Giscome Road

Yu-Han Chao writes with delicacy and power. Her poems speak on many levels about life, relationships and personal nightmares. Her work flows from a mix of traditional Chinese culture, contemporary Taiwan and post-modern America. The resulting poems contain beauty and often wisdom. Many are worth reading over and over again.
• Joe Farley
Publisher of Axe Factory Review and the founder of Cynic Press

Poems From Yu-Han Chao’s We Grow Old

One Day

One day when I am toothless and wrinkled, shriveled and half blind
and eating an ice cream cone, I will still think of you. I see a ring on
the middle finger of my left hand, gold and ruby, but my right hand is
a blur. I don’t know if you would have simply left without a trace, or
widowed me. But when I feel the ice against my gums and the hard
cone in my raisined fingers, I will still think of you. I know you do
not eat ice cream, and chocolate flavored chemicals send you running
to the bathroom, but I know I will think of you, I do not know why.

Song Zhong

The Chinese do not give one another clocks as a gift, because to song
, give clock, means to see someone to their grave, to be present
at their deathbed, their last rites. Even if you hated someone you
would not give them an object that so explicitly expressed your desire
to see them dead. I saw a lovely antique clock in a thrift shop in
Vermont, and it sang the same song that my father’s pretty old clock
did before it broke. I wanted to buy it for him because he liked that
clock so much and I broke it one morning by knocking it over in my
sleep. But I couldn’t. Because we’re Chinese, and you don’t give a
Chinese person a gift that’s a clock.

Last Night I Dreamt

Last night I dreamt of sewing the chocolate brown velour and leather
jacket that your father gave you. The dry cleaners refused to take it
because it was ripped at the sleeves and they were afraid its innards
would come out in the wash. I leaned over the counter, grabbed
some brown thread from a colorful row of spools, and began to sew.
But after a few stitches, when I took the needle again to the torn
sleeve of the jacket, my vision grew blurry. Then I noticed how dry
and crinkled my hands were, and realized that I had become an old


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